Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 27 Feb 2020

The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am

1

Public told to stick to Covid rules

Concern is growing that the success of the UK vaccination roll-out and the arrival of spring are causing people to take more risks. “Do not wreck this, we are so close,” said Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, at a briefing yesterday. He said he has been “besieged with people writing in saying ‘I have had the vaccine and essentially can I start breaking the rules’.” 

2

One jab ‘enough for infected’

A single dose of the Pfizer vaccine could be enough those who have already had Covid, according to research by Public Health England. Experts said the findings could “potentially accelerate vaccine rollout” if those going for jabs were offered tests to see whether they had antibodies first. Meanwhile, the next phase of  vaccinations is to continue to prioritise by age and not occupation, to avoid slowing down the rollout.

3

Saudi ‘approved’ reporter murder

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, approved the 2018 murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The four-page report released yesterday confirmed suspicions that the 35-year-old future king had a personal hand in the violent killing. Joe Biden’s administration will target “counter-dissident” activity but not Mohammed bin Salman personally.

4

Harry slams ‘toxic’ UK press

Prince Harry says he stepped away from the royal family because the press was “destroying” his mental health. Speaking to The Late Late Show host James Corden, he said: “We all know what the British press can be like. I was like: ‘this is toxic’. So I did what any husband and what any father would do.” He said he was “stepping back” from the Royal Family, rather than “stepping down”.

5

Trump ‘future of Republicans’

Donald Trump Jnr described his father as the “future of the Republican Party” at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday. Previewing his father’s address to the conference on Sunday, he said: “it will not be what we call a low energy speech” but will “solidify Donald Trump and all of your feelings about the MAGA movement as the future of the Republican Party”.

6

Ministers may underwrite festivals

The government is considering underwriting an insurance scheme so that summer festivals can go ahead this year. Julian Knight, a Tory MP and chairman of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee, said that the sector needed “more than a road map” for the events to go ahead. The Reading and Leeds festivals have confirmed they will take place over the August bank holiday weekend.

7

Salmond slams Sturgeon

The former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, has accused his successor, Nicola Sturgeon, of leadership “failure”. There are now calls for London to intervene in the row, with Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, telling The Telegraph that the Cabinet Office should investigate. An inquiry is already examining the Scottish government’s botched handling of harassment allegations against Mr Salmond.

8

Cows endure ‘hellish’ conditions

More than 850 cows that have spent months at sea aboard a ship are no longer fit for transport anymore and should be killed, according to Spanish government veterinarians. The cows have been kept in what an animal rights activist called “hellish” conditions on the Karim Allah, which has struggled for two months to find a buyer for the cattle. Several cows died at sea, with their remains chopped up and thrown overboard.

9

Huge iceberg breaks off

An iceberg the size of London has broken off Antarctica close to the UK’s Halley Research Station. The 470-square mile iceberg will now be monitored remotely because of the risk it could pose in the future to shipping. The Daily Telegraph says the development is not linked to climate change but is instead part of the natural processes of the ice shelf.

10

Cummings registers tech firm

The former Downing Street adviser, Dominic Cummings, has established a new tech consultancy company. According to filings made to Companies House, Cummings founded a company called Siwah Ltd on Thursday. The documentation states that Siwah will be involved with “information technology consultancy activities”, Cummings is listed as the only initial shareholder in the business, which is registered to a Durham address.

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